8 Milestones in the Evolution of Jason Bateman

Chicago Sons (1997)

After one last round of success with Valerie/Valerie's Family/The Hogans/The Hogan Family, Bateman was cast off into what was -- for him -- the lost decade of the 1990s. A Taste for Killing, Confessions: Two Faces of Evil, Hart to Hart: Secrets of the Heart plus failed sitcoms like Simon and this offering, Chicago Sons, sum up the decade-long career rut.

Arrested Development (2003)

There are a lot of reasons to be thankful Arrested Development exists, but the first that should be mentioned is that it saved Jason Bateman from the scrapheap of Hollywood. Before Arrested Development, the most notable recent appearance by Bateman was in a horrible, horrible movie called The Sweetest Thing. Playing Michael Bluth put him back on the map, and garnered him a groundswell of renewed critical support.

Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004)

Bateman's role in Dodgeball is small -- much smaller than his role in Starsky and Hutch, released earlier that same year -- but it quantified his status as go-to scene stealer. In the film, he played a dodgeball color commentator on ESPN 8: The Ocho, and it would launch an entirely new career in supporting comedic roles: The Break-Up, Smokin' Aces, Couples Retreat, and a blink-and-you-miss-it cameo in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. (Let's just pretend The Ex and the sitcom The Jake Effect never existed, OK?)

Juno (2007)

Possibly Bateman's best dramatic role. Bateman plays Mark -- who's an a-hole. As a potential adoptive father for Juno's (Ellen Page) unborn child, Mark leaves his wife (Jennifer Garner) and even makes a pass at his newly found surrogate mother. Of course since Bateman is such a likable fellow, you want to root for him even though he's a t
otal scumbag. For the long-time star, Juno was just the role he needed to avoid getting typecast in straightforward comedies as the voice-of-reason or sarcastic, uptight friend.

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  • The Winchester says:

    For my 9th birthday, I wanted to go to the movies for my party. We were all set to see something that turned out wasn't playing anymore. The replacement film?
    Teen Wolf Too.
    My father still refuses to let it go, bringing up my mistake of movie choice for two plus decades since.
    At least he knows how low the bar is set.

  • KevyB says:

    I'm sorry but this evolution leaves out a very important milestone: when Jason Bateman became HOT! It was evidently somewhere between 1997 and 2003, but you've provided NO video evidence of this happening. Shoddy!

  • LBP says:

    Unrelated, but god I just want to punch that little girl in that Little House of the Prairie clip.